A petition has been launched to try and prevent the closure of Chichester University’s Otter gallery.
The art collection at Bishop Otter Campus is the only free gallery with a permanent exhibition in the city but the university has confirmed the artworks are set to be redistributed from October 8 following its summer exhibition.
A spokesman for the University of Chichester said the closure would allow the 96-metre space to be used as a careers and employability centre and make the gallery’s collection ‘available across both Chichester and Bognor Regis campuses’.
Friends of the Otter Gallery and other supporters are arguing the gallery space must be retained and an online petition to save the gallery has already gained 1,300 signatures within days of being launched.
The Change.org petition, set up by Anne Purkiss, reads: “These plans are unworkable, since much of the Otter Collection’s main works of 20th century British art are too valuable to be safely shown outside a designated gallery.
“The planned ‘distributed Otter Gallery’ would also lose its Arts Council England accredited status, depriving it of the associated benefits, and making it difficult to obtain works of art on loan.”
Supporters have said the loss of designated gallery space would mean an end to family workshops and arts related talks at the venue.
A University of Chichester spokesperson said: “The art collection was devised explicitly for the benefit of students, staff, and visitors and our plan is to display and distribute much more of the collected works, most of which are in storage.
“It is in the spirit of the extraordinary visionaries, Miss Murray and Miss McCririck, that we want to protect, preserve and display these inspirational works for the benefit of the wider communities in Chichester and Bognor Regis.”
The spokesman said the Friends’ would be able to support the showcasing of artwork across campus.